A 55-year-old man who fled the scene of a vehicle-versus-pedestrian crash in Studio City that killed a musical collaborator of singer Christopher Cross was sentenced Monday to three years formal probation.

The Defendant, who earlier pleaded no contest to hit-and-run driving resulting in death, was also ordered to complete 18 months of mental health counseling as part of the sentence negotiated with prosecutors.

Vehicle Code section 20001, also known as felony hit-and-run involving death or injury, is a wobller in California.  That means that the District Attorney may prosecute the crime as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the conduct and facts of the case.  A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 and no less than 90 days of county jail and no more than 1 year in county jail.  This is a 2-point violation on your driver’s license and you are also subject to payment of restitution.  A felony is punishable by the same fine, 2, 3 or 4 years in the state prison, restitution and the same point violation on your driver’s license.

If you have been contacted by local law enforcement regarding a hit-and-run, or have already been charged or booked on hit-and-run charges, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Consult with an attorney before speaking with law enforcement, before walking into court and before you consider pleading guilty because “I did it, what’s the point of fighting the case?”  There are oftentimes many ways to resolve these types of cases, including, but not limited to, civilly compromising the case with the victim in order to have your case dismissed and establishing that you did not legally flee the scene of the accident, among others.

Do yourself a favor and consult with attorney Ross Erlich, for free, to learn what options are available to you before you make your first move.  Ross Erlich handles hit-and-run cases in Los Angeles county, San Bernardino county, Ventura county, Orange county and Riverside county.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has, formally, set a hearing to determine whether or not Sean “Diddy” Combs will face charges of assault after he was arrested following an argument with a UCLA football coach in June.  UCLA police arrested “Diddy” after, it was alleged, he swung a kettle-bell weight at a coach and made criminal threats during a dispute.  The hearing is set for mid October.

A City Attorney Hearing is an informal proceeding that is conducted as an alternative to a misdemeanor criminal charge being filed in court by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.  An arrest usually gets to a City Attorney hearing after the District Attorney’s office declines to file a felony charge and the conduct or facts of the case are not serious enough to warrant a “straight out” filing of a misdemeanor charge by the City Attorney’s office.

The hearing is an informal proceeding that is conducted by a hearing officer, not a prosecutor or police officer.  The defendant may be represented by an attorney at the hearing where, in all honesty, it is more of a slap on the wrist than something that will result in criminal charges.  The main focus of the hearing is to determine if it is necessary to prosecute the criminal case (file charges) or to withhold that filing.  The hearing officer may simply say “don’t let this happen again” or can request the defendant to take anger management classes or something along those lines.

As part of the proactive, pre-filing work done by attorney Ross Erlich, a common practice is to contact law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office right away to see if there is any way to avoid having the case filed at all.  If there is little chance to get the case rejected, attorney Ross Erlich works to “push” the case towards a City Attorney hearing and not to court.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a misdemeanor charge in Los Angeles, Orange County or anywhere in Southern California, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Cases can move quickly from arrest to court date and, in most instances, getting a case to a City Attorney hearing takes place during that time.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.

Los Angeles is home to one of the highest populations of motorists in the world.  If you live here, or have visited, you will know that it is nearly impossible to exist in this city without driving a car.  One of the unintended consequences of driving so often is car accidents, be it minor or a serious accident with injuries.  This article will give you an idea of what to expect if you have been charged with a hit-and-run and what some possible outcomes can be.  Remember, if you’ve been arrested or charged with a hit-and-run, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible to reduce any punishment by the court and don’t just go to court and plea guilty.

Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is a violation of California’s Vehicle Code section 20002 as a misdemeanor or section 20001 as a felony.  According to the law, a hit-and-run occurs when the driver leaves the scene of an accident without identifying yourself to the party or parties involved when there has been damage to the property or person of the other party.  The major difference between a misdemeanor and felony hit-and-run is whether there is damage only to property or whether the other party was injured as a result of the accident.

Some of the relevant factors for a prosecutor to consider if you have been charged with a hit-and-run is how serious the accident was, the extent of the property damage, any injuries, how serious were the injuries, did insurance compensate the victim, did the defendant have any prior record and did the at-fault party have a valid California driver’s license at the time of the accident.  A misdemeanor hit-and-run carries a punishment of up to $1,000 in fines, up to 6 months in jail, restitution to the victim and 2 points on your license.

One of the most desired outcomes if you have been formally charged with hit-and-run in Los Angeles is a civil compromise.  Under California Penal Code sections 1377 and 1378, a judge may stay or stop a criminal action and discharge the defendant when a civil compromise has been reached between the defendant and the victim.  In other words, if the responsible party has made all restitution and paid the victim for all of their out of pocket expenses, the judge may, in essence, dismiss the case against the defendant.  There will not be any conviction on the defendant’s record and all criminal action will be permanently stopped.

Another outcome that can be achieved in a hit-and-run case is, if the property damage is not too high or has been paid for by the defendant, is the reduction in charge from a misdemeanor hit-and-run to an infraction.  Prosecutors will sometimes agree to either reduce the charge to a disturbing the peace infraction or even to California Vehicle Code section 16028 as an infraction (failure to show evidence of financial responsibility).  This result not only avoids a misdemeanor conviction on someone’s record, it avoids the 2 point penalty on their license as well.

If you have been cited or arrested for hit-and-run in Los Angeles, LA City, Beverly Hills, LAX, Airport, Metropolitan Court, Downtown, the Westside, Hollywood or North Hollywood, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free case consultation at (323) 222-4529.

In California, getting arrested for the act of prostitution or for solicitation of prostitution is a violation of Penal Code section 647(b), a misdemeanor. While the typical punishment for the first offense is minimal county jail time (5-10 days), AIDS testing, counseling and some form of probation for three years, second and third offenses carry more severe, often mandatory, punishments. Prostitution, as used in Penal Code section 647(b), is defined as “any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.”

Under California Penal Code section647(b), a person is guilty prostitution if the government can prove that a person either 1) solicited an act of prostitution, 2) agreed to engage in prostitution, or 3) actually engaged in prostitution. The Penal Code goes on to state that a person “agrees to engage in prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, he or she manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in prostitution.” This is important because the person by which an offer or solicitation is made, does not have to have to specific intent to actually commit the act. This language is what allows police and other law enforcement officials to conduct undercover “stings,” whereby actual police officers disguise themselves as prostitutes or potential customers and attempt to arrest citizens for violations of 647(b).

Simply agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution does not, by itself, make a person guilty of a 647(b) violation. As 647(b) states, “no agreement to engage in an act of prostitution shall constitute a violation unless some act, in addition to the agreement, is done in furtherance of the commission of an act of prostitution by the person agreeing to engage in that act.” Thus, simply agreeing to a solicitation or an offer requires an act in furtherance of the agreement. This act in furtherance does not need to be a transaction of money, but can be any minimal act such as meeting at a designated location, removing clothing or exposing oneself.

The punishment for a second offense of Penal Code 647(b) is a mandatory minimum of 45 days in county jail and a third offense requires a mandatory minimum of 90 days in county jail. The same additional terms apply, such as AIDS testing, probationary period and other possible special conditions (not walking in a certain area, not riding in a car within the area arrested in) apply to second and third time offenders.

If you or someone you know has been arrested or cited for solicitation of prostitution or loitering in the Beverly Hills Courthouse, Airport Courthouse or Bauchet Courthouse, contact Attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible to discuss your options. As discussed above, there are many different possible resolutions to your case that do not involve jail or even a conviction on your criminal record.

Contact Attorney Ross Erlich at (323) 222-4529.

Joe Simpson, the father of singer Jessica Simpson, was arrested in Sherman Oaks on August 4 for suspicion of driving under the influence following a stop at a DUI checkpoint.

Just this Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both and for operating a motor vehicle with a .08% Blood Alcohol Level or above. Misdemeanor DUI carries a maximum of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

If you are arrested for a DUI and your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is at 0.08% or above, the City Attorney will charge you with the two misdemeanor charges (mentioned above) and you will be facing the possibility of having two misdemeanor convictions. A good criminal defense attorney should be able to, at the very least, get one of those charges dismissed and, depending on what your BAC was, how you were driving and other factors, get your DUI reduced to something non-alcohol related.

If you have been arrested for a DUI and need a criminal attorney in Beverly Hills, the Airport/LAX area or in the Metropolitan Courthouse, contact Attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible to protect your rights in court and with the DMV. Having an effective Beverly Hills criminal attorney or Airport criminal attorney may mean the difference between jail and probation and having a license or not.

Contact Attorney Ross Erlich here.

A San Diego police officer pleaded no contest today to a misdemeanor charge of committing a lewd act in public. The charge was part of a plea deal where prosecutors agreed to drop a felony charge of sexual assault in exchange for the no contest plea.

Former officer Daniel Dana was charged last May for, what prosecutors claim, coercing a prostitute to have sex with him in his patrol car by threatening to arrest her if she did not comply with his request.

So, the Officer “got off” with a lighter sentence and one which does not require registration as a sex offender and San Diego obtained a conviction, both sides walked away with a compromise. This is a great example of what can be done when you hire an attorney at the earliest time after your arrest as possible. When Attorney Ross Erlich is retained, he can start contacting the investigating detectives and prosecutor to discuss resolution of the matter.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for lewd acts, solicitation of prostitution, DUI or hit-and-run in Beverly Hills or by LAX/Airport Court, contact Attorney Ross Erlich right now. Taking action early can help bring about the best possible resolution to your case.

Contact Attorney Ross Erlich here or call the office for a free consultation at (323) 222-4529.

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